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Hacker's Diary

A rough account of what I did with Emacs recently.

December 30
The Man in the High Castle: almost done with season one. There's some persistent stupidity going on that's mildly annoying, but I'm still engaged with the show, so that's ok.

I enjoyed Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. I will happily confess that I didn't recognise Alan Tudyk, although I guess that's somewhat understandable given his character. I also didn't recognise Forrest Whittaker, which is a little less understandable, but there you go. The movie itself wasn't quite the same rush of nostalgia / enjoyment as The Force Awakens, and I'm not really sure why, but it was certainly leaps and bounds ahead of any of the later movies Lucas himself created. Great to see the embracing of a strong female lead, but a shame that there's, what, a handful of women at best in the entire movie collection... perhaps in a galaxy far, far away the lack of women accounts for all the guys running around in their cosplay outfits building giant weapons and fighting. Anyway, definitely a fun outing, and something I'd watch again.

One of my friends linked a fairly useless article on the ethics of using Peter Cushing's likeness in the movie (basically, they had someone who looks a bit like Cushing do the acting in a motion capture rig, then used a bunch of CGI to overlay it with Cushing's features) and while the article itself was pointless, my thoughts on the matter are that it's no different to any other posthumous use of an artist's work: the constant hassle over Ulysses, the disagreements over continuing Larsson's Millennium Trilogy Series, Lennon's Free as a Bird, Brandon Lee in The Crow, and so on. The technology has advanced, sure, but the ultimate go/no-go is in the hands of the estate, so nothing has really changed there. The question of whether or not it's ethical to use the work of an artist like this (given, obviously, that you consider the appearance and performance of an actor to be their art) is something we apparently long ago decided was ok as long as you got someone with some skin in the game (hah!) to agree with it, optionally with the exchange of suitably conscience-easing quantities of cash; the specifics of usage after that are just implementation detail.

Apparently LiveJournal now actually lives in Russia. I may consider this a suitable excuse to finally delete my account there, although there are a few people there whose writings I still read who didn't join the exodus to Dreamwidth or personal websites back when LJ was purchased by a Russian company, whenever that was. All-pervasive monitoring and surveillance makes this a bit difficult to care strongly about, to be honest.

December 22
Started my Amazon Prime Video free trial with two episodes of The Man in the High Castle. So far, quite enjoyable. The tech side of things... I gave up on trying to get the macbook to play video. No idea why, but Safari wouldn't work; Firefox wanted me to install Silverlight (er, NO), and Chrome... worked, but I don't like using Chrome (a bit silly, since Google is my default search engine, but leave me have my crazies, ok?). The iPad app, however, is very slick, especially if you use AirPlay - the iPad display then becomes a live XRay screen, giving you scene-by-scene cast, etc. I'll probably try Safari again because it should work; I played with a pre-release version and it was just fine, so clearly there's some random glitch at play here.

December 20
Star Trek: Beyond: well, that was fun, if a bit silly. I don't think there's much else I could say about it.

December 19
Conclusion, more or less, of the Disk Saga: copied the image to an EFS volume and did the recovery there. A bit pricey given that a 0.5 GB drive unpacked to over 1TB of data, but I'm scrubbing that down now to see if there's some stuff worth saving. There are a few things - such as videos of a CSAIL CS course - which I probably downloaded with great patience and effort because I was on the sort of internet connection that didn't permit streaming same, but I've spotted a few things I'd forgotten about that I'd definitely like to hang on to. Right now, though, it's the easy stuff: traverse the whole thing scrubbing zero-length files and empty directories.

This, as they say, sucks.

December 17
Watched the last of season one of Mr. Robot. Ok, so episode 10 was basically "I've run out of plot and have one more episode to do, so I'll hold off a couple of things (literally three, I think) and fill the rest of the 45 minutes with padding. No problem, I like the show anyway.

So what do I think of it? Well, as previously intimated, I find the fact that the creator apparently wanted to rail against the Hollywood Hacker Portrayal somewhat laughable, since Eliot and co. are pretty much directly out of the Hollywood Hacker Playbook - anti-social, anti-society, anarchistic, misfits, etc. etc. Some of the as-portrayed hacking is entertainingly believable, especially the social engineering, but some of it - like Eliot's account-hacking program - is again standard laughable Hollywood Technocrap. The increasingly obvious unreliability of Eliot as the narrator of what's actually going on is good, but sometimes gets a bit frustrating as you start to wonder which parts of the plot have even happened - the drug withdrawal sequence mid-season being a particularly strong example of this, but one where it worked, while later in the season there are just random parts of the show where you're sitting there wondering if it's all going to turn into another hallucination / flashback / dream sequence - which is a problem. I'm told it gets darker in season 2; given a somewhat psychotic lead, murder, drugs, massive social upheaval, etc. I'm not sure where you go from here, but we'll see. I'll certainly be watching it.

December 16
Road to Perdition (last watched: September 2003) was on the box, so watched it. This is a beautifully-shot movie, although I got stuck on the notion of Jude Law basically playing a human squirrel, which was far too funny. According to IMDb, the director was actually aiming for this, although his intent was, er, "a villain that could challenge the physically imposing Tom Hanks". Riiight.

December 5
Started watching Mr. Robot recently. Set the DVR to record the season. Discovered tonight that it had (OF COURSE) neglected to record the most recent episode. No errors, no indications of any problems, no recording. Thanks, UPC/VirginMedia.

Anyway, I fixed that.

Drive shennanigans: predictably even squeezing the very last bit of free space out of the 1TB concatenated drive wasn't enough to contain the restore data, so now I'm fiddling with other plans. Oh yes.

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Yikes. Time to shop.